Bone Density Testing
Screening for Osteoporosis
An estimated 28 million Americans -- 80 percent of them women -- have osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become weak, fragile and more likely to break. But many people don't know they have it.
New Haven Radiology offers a fast, easy and painless test that can show if you are at risk for broken bones associated with osteoporosis.
A state-of-the-art scanner -- called a DXA bone densitometer -- shows existing fractures of the vertebrae in the spine. It also shows low bone density. These are two leading signs of bone breaks associated with osteoporosis.
As you lie on an exam table, the scanner moves above your body, taking images of your spine while measuring the mineral content of your spine and thigh bones.
The scan is completely painless, lasts only 15 minutes and is done on an outpatient basis. It uses a fraction of the radiation of an X-ray and unlike traditional nuclear medicine bone scans; you won't need a radiotracer injection. The test is safe for patients with pacemakers and other implanted devices. In many cases, you'll be able to wear your regular clothes during the test!
Your physician must refer you for the test. It is covered by Medicaid, Medicare and most insurance companies. Because most bone loss occurs during the first 10 years after menopause, it is anticipated many physicians will recommend the scan be done along with patients' mammograms.
More About Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis most commonly affects women in the five to 10 years following menopause. The condition doesn't usually have any symptoms until a fracture occurs - most typically in the hip, back, or wrist. Collapsed vertebrae due to osteoporosis can result in severe back pain, loss of height, and a stooped posture or other spinal deformities.
Though there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are promising treatments and steps you can take to prevent it. The earlier you're diagnosed, the sooner your physician can begin treating you to prevent future bone loss -- before you reach the breaking point.
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